Facebook has admitted that teenagers are becoming bored with the social networking giant.
Facing competition from younger, more agile and “cooler” apps such as Snapchat and Instagram, Facebook fears its long-term business could be harmed.
And as Facebook approaches its tenth anniversary the firm published its annual 10-K report last month revealing that its younger users are increasingly turning away from the multi-billion dollar business.
Published last month, Facebook annual report states: “We believe that some of our users, particularly our younger users, are aware of and actively engaging with other products and services similar to, or as a substitute for, Facebook.
“For example, we believe that some of our users have reduced their engagement with Facebook in favor of increased engagement with other products and services such as Instagram.
“In the event that our users increasingly engage with other products and services, we may experience a decline in user engagement and our business could be harmed.”
The sobering admission that they need to sharpen their public image comes as Facebook Director of Product Blake Ross announced in scathing terms why he was leaving the social networking powerhouse.
“I’m leaving because a Forbes writer asked his son’s best friend Todd if Facebook was still cool and the friend said no, and plus none of HIS friends think so either even Leila who used to love it, and this journalism made me reconsider the long-term viability of the company.”
Maybe because of the seriousness of his jesting post, Blake Ross pulled the message from his Facebook page.
However, it did not divert from the fact that teenagers are very often a plausible, but non-scientific barometer for trends – especially what is cool and what is not.
Indeed, the founder and of new social networking site Branch, Josh Miller, asked his 15-year-old sister for her opinion on Facebook.
Her verdict was damning.
“She tries to visit Facebook as infrequently as possible,” Josh Miller wrote, because it’s addictive, and because it’s not as fun as Instagram.
“Facebook may have an irreversibly bad brand,” Josh Miller concluded.
Web-expert, Laura Portwood-Stacer was more concise in her opinion of how Facebook relates to today’s teenagers.
“I think it has less to do with kids consciously looking for <<the next big thing>> than Facebook just no longer being a space that serves them,” said Laura Portwood-Stacer.
“I think kids are less self-conscious about trying to be cool than marketers would like to think,” she added.
Teenagers are turning to sites like Tumblr and apps like Snapchat and Instagram as their preferred methods of communication.
“Tumblr is mainly my obsession as of now,” said 15-year-old Collin Wisniewski to The Verge.
“It just seems more intimate and it’s not really a place of bragging, but more of a place of sharing.”
Apps such as Snapchat give power to younger users who do not like the idea of their images existing forever and tagged on Facebook,
“I would say that this app really is one of my major communicating devices more than really a social network,” said Collin Wisniewski.
However, this does not mean that teens are leaving Facebook similar in manner to the demise of MySpace.
They are simply using the service less and other newer products more.
And, of course, monetarily, Facebook owns Instagram and is still at the forefront of mobile device apps.